A Mother’s Journey

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord

 Proverbs 31:28-29 (NLT)

28 Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:

29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

 

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. “Is this the long way?” she asked. And the guide said: “Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.” But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years.

So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams. And the sun shone on them, and the young mother cried, “Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.” Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, “Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come.” And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children, “A little patience and we are there.” So the children climbed, and when they reached the top, they said, “Mother, we would not have done it without you.” And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars and said, “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today, I have given them strength.” And with the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said: “Look up. Lift your eyes to the light.” And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the mother said, “This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.” And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage. And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And the mother said: “I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them.” And the children said, “You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.” And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: “We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence.” Your mother is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she’s the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks she’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not well. Your mother lives inside your laughter. And she’s crystallized in every tear drop. She’s the place you came from, your first home; and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can separate you… Not time, not space…not even death!

Happy Mother’s Day!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

I Am The Resurrection

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

John 11:25-26 (NLT)

25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

Vernon McGee once pointed out, ”Martha believed in a resurrection. But listen, it makes less demand upon faith to believe that in a future day we shall receive glorified bodies than it does to rest now on the assurance that they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. It is easier to believe that the Lord is coming and the dead will be raised than it is to believe that tomorrow I can live for God. It is so easy to comfort people who are mourning and say, ‘Well, you’ll see your loved ones someday.’ That doesn’t take much faith. It takes a lot of faith to say, ‘I have just lost my loved one, but I am comforted with the assurance that God is with me and He does all things well.’ You see, although Martha knew from the Old Testament that there would be a resurrection from the dead, she didn’t believe that Jesus could help her now.”

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Do You Want Revival?

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

Jim Cymbala began at the Brooklyn Tabernacle as an ill-equipped, under-educated, time-strapped preacher who led a second congregation in New Jersey. The Brooklyn church had no money to pay him, a ramshackle building, and barely enough attendance to bother with weekly meetings.

Today, the Tabernacle hosts around 6,000 spirit-filled worshipers. The difference came when Jim, in a moment of desperation, set aside his planned message and called the church to pray. The weekly prayer meeting, not the Sunday worship, became the focal point of the Brooklyn Tabernacle.

Jim’s belief that “God can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need him” guides his work. It is Prayer, not preaching that brings Revival.

Years ago I pastored a church that kept telling me about the “good old days.” When I asked them why they were so good, very few had an answer. One elderly lady finally told me, “those were praying saints back then!”

Lord, make us “praying saints” again!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Restored Mind

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:
Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Paul said spiritual metamorphosis is accomplished “by the renewing of your mind.” The word “renewing” also means renovation. Think of a house. You can make repairs. You know, the cosmetic kind – some paint and carpet – and it looks better, perhaps increases the resale value. But Paul isn’t talking about repairing our minds. That may cover up some ugly defects for awhile, but it isn’t going to lead to transformation. You can restore a house to its original historic condition. You take out carpet and refinish the original wood floors. You find windows, doors, woodwork and hardware in good condition from the period the house was built and install those to reverse someone else’s “modernizations”. But Paul isn’t talking about restoring our minds to their original condition. We were born sinners and did not have the mind of God so what is there to restore? Paul is talking about a complete renovation. This is not about cosmetic repairs or restoration. It’s like taking a house and completely gutting it. Walls, floors, wiring, plumbing, cabinets, bath and kitchen fixtures, roof – it’s all completely new. Anyone who’d seen the house in its previous condition wouldn’t recognize it now. That’s what needs to take place in us according to Romans 12:2. Paul said something similar to the Ephesians; “Throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through… Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal [renovation] of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness — righteous, holy, and true” (Eph 4:22-24, NLT).

In Christ,
Pastor Mark

Sound The Alarm

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Joel 2:1 (NLT)

Sound the alarm in Jerusalem! Raise the battle cry on my holy mountain! Let everyone tremble in fear because the day of the LORD is upon us.

In my nearly 20 years of ministry I’ve never really considered myself a “Hell, Fire, and Brimstone” preachers. My preference has always been to focus on God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. However, there are times when we need to warn people that a life of sin results in some dire consequences. For example a life of alcohol and drug abuse can have some substantial effects to our bodies. Yet there are other ramifications to a life of sin, and there are eternal. It’s a nice thought that all of us no matter what we do in our lives we go to heaven when we die, but the Bible paints for us a completely different picture. Scripture is very clear that a life filled with sin and rebellion against God results in an eternity in hell. Now I know that people don’t life to hear about hell, nor do they want to talk about it, but it is a reality for those who refuse to repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their Savior. Another thing that Scripture is clear about is that we as believers have a responsibility to warn people about hell. For example, the Prophet Ezekiel tells us, “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ 11 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die” (Ezek. 33:10-11). Just a few verses before this the Lord warns Ezekiel the consequences for him if he doesn’t tell them, “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. 8 If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 9 But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself” (Ezek. 33:7-9). So we as believers have a responsibility to warn others about the consequences of not accepting Christ. Are you being a faithful messenger of God’s truth?

 

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Dealing With The Problem

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Romans 6:23 (NLT)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

 In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception “that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior.” He goes on to say, “It is revival without reformation, without repentance.” The sure test of the quality of any supposed change of heart will be found in its permanent effects. ’By their fruits you shall know them’ is as applicable to the right method of judging ourselves as of judging others. Whatever, therefore, may have been our inward experience, whatever joy or sorrow we may have felt, unless we bring forth fruits meet for repentance, our experience will profit us nothing. Repentance is incomplete unless it leads to confession and restitution in cases of injury; unless it causes us to forsake not merely outward sins, which others notice, but those which lie concealed in the heart; unless it makes us choose the service of God and live not for ourselves but for Him. Do you have a hold on the sin in your life or does it have a hold of you?

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

It’s Not Too Late

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Luke 2:6-7 (NLT)

6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.  7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

 Those of you who have been with us for our morning worship services know that I have been preaching a Christmas series based on Max Lucado’s book Because of Bethlehem. This is an expert from that book that talks about the fact that it is never too late. “I was called to the bedside of a dying man a few days back, an eighty-year-old scoundrel. Yes, a scoundrel! He spent the final decade of his life with time on his hands, money at his disposal, and women on his mind. His exploits would have made Hugh Hefner blush. But as his health began to fail, his conscience began to stir. When the doctor told him to get his affairs in order, he called me. He wanted to get right with God. He made a deathbed confession of faith. Might I make a confession of my own? I left the hospital room with a scroogy scowl. That’s too easy, I thought. A guy like him deserves to be routed through purgatory on the way to paradise. But God didn’t tell me to screen the applicants, just to teach them. And according to God’s great grace, if my scoundrel friend’s confession was sincere, he is walking the same heavenly streets as Paul and Peter and King David. Each a scoundrel in his own right. It’s never too late to come to Christ for help. Your stack of sins is never too high. Your list of failures is never too long. That knock at the door of your heart? That’s Jesus. It’s one thing to miss a message from your spouse but to miss a message from God? That’s a mistake you don’t want to make. All you have to do is open the door” (Max Lucado. “Because of Bethlehem.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/546E_.lExcerpt From: Max Lucado. “Because of Bethlehem (with Bonus Content).” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/546E_.l). Marry Christmas!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark